The Conservation Council of WA has welcomed the WA Nationals’ pledge to spend $100 million on land care, coast care and a regional Land and Sea Restoration fund.
CCWA director Piers Verstegen said the five-year funding commitment should be matched by the McGowan Government and other political parties contesting the state election.
“Currently land care and coast care groups receive $7.2 million per year from Royalties For Regions. The Nationals propose to increase this to $9 million per year, which we welcome.
“More significantly, the Nationals have committed to an additional $55million from Royalties For Regions over five years into a new regional Land and Sea Restoration Fund.”
It is understood the Nationals fund would emulate the highly successful $500million fund Land Restoration Fund established in Queensland, though at a smaller scale.
“While the opportunity for carbon farming and land restoration in WA is much bigger still, the National’s commitment is a step in the right direction and significantly greater than the $15million committed by the McGowan Government to its carbon farming strategy so far.
“Last year, the Clean State initiative proposed the creation of a WA Carbon Farming and Land Restoration Fund as part of a range of projects to create new jobs and fight climate change in WA. Our proposal would create over 6,000 jobs in our state.
“WA has enormous potential to grow a carbon farming sector that benefits farmers, pastoralists, other landholders and managers including Traditional Owners and Aboriginal enterprises, and regional communities.
“Through the sale of carbon credits, carbon farming has the potential to significantly improve farm income while at the same time supporting better land management, conservation of biodiversity and other co-benefit industries.
“Carbon farming can play a key role in supporting landscape restoration and reforestation, protection of WAs unique and endangered wildlife and ecosystems, and improving the resilience of natural areas threatened by climate change.
“We call on the McGowan Government and other political parties to match and better the WA Nationals commitment to carbon farming and land restoration projects which have the potential to create thousands of new jobs for West Australians while reducing carbon pollution.”